Time Management Secrets For Busy Bloggers Like You

October 24, 2014
 / 11 comments

 

time management

 

Are you struggling with time management?

Perhaps you’re a go-getter with lots of goals and dreams, but seemingly not enough time each day to conquer it all…

There’s hope for you.

Let me tell you about my friend “Gary”… This guy is pretty amazing.

(I have changed the name of my friend here to protect his identity.)

I’ve known him for a LONG time (since age 3.) Growing up, he was somehow involved in many of my childhood adventures.

After college, we kinda went our separate ways for several years. But like many of you have experienced, this whole internet thing enabled two old friends to  reconnect and keep in touch.

Recently, something about Gary struck me that I never really noticed before: This guy possesses some supersonic time management skills. 

Gary was always a confident kid growing up. Creative. Musically talented.

But my epiphany of his time management mojo was based on more recent observations.

You see, today, Gary not only has a full-time job working as a manager for a well-known Fortune 500 company–he also has a successful internet business on the side.

Plus, he’s a family man. Wife. Three kids.

Yet, when you see the guy, he doesn’t look frazzled or tired. He appears to be handling it all really well.

Like a boss.

On social media, you can see he finds time for his wife and kids (and himself), enjoys consistent success with his corporate day job, and churns out excellent work (along with happy customers) through his blog business.

In fact, I would say, based on what I’ve seen, his blogging business practically OWNS a particular niche market in a certain midwestern metropolis.

Pretty impressive, eh? Okay, so how does he do it? How does one guy juggle a full-time day job, a blog business, and a happy family life? At the same time.

All while staying sane in the process.

That’s What I Decided To Find Out

Recently, I emailed Gary and posed that very question to him. He has agreed to let me share his answers here on this blog.

Here’s what you’re going to notice as you read his revelations: He is human. Not a superman. The things he does, you can do, too.

Whew! What a relief. *wiping sweat off the forehead*

That means there’s hope for us time management challenged folks.

Yes. As a blogger, husband and father myself, I found his answers to be realistic. Practical. Encouraging.

But not everything was all sunshine and rainbows. His final confession provides some good food-for-thought that we all need to think about.

Let’s Get Started

See what you think about his advice (and be sure to leave a comment too. Agree. Disagree. Or anything in between.)

Here’s my question from the email: Just curious if you have any quick tips on how you balance a full-time job, freelance internet business and a family?

Here are his answers (in italics):

“I get that question quite a bit and while uncertain of work/life proficiency, I’m still here nine years later doing my thing for better or worse.”

“One of my tricks is working my second job during my first job hours as much as I can.  Probably not the best approach but it works for me and (my employer) since I’m afforded flex time.  I also make sure my bosses are aware of both gigs so everything is above-board and (my employer) work gets DONE with priority!”

In other words, Gary’s first secret to time management is…

1. Be Transparent With Your Employer About Your Blogging Business

This is the right thing to do if you are going to be doing ANYTHING related to your blog business while you are on the employer’s clock. This works for Gary because he has communicated thoroughly with his day job supervisors and they have made an agreement on a set of parameters that allow Gary to gain some extra time during his day job.

There is no sneakiness going on. This is just good ethics in action.

2. Prioritize Your Job Duties When On the Job. Don’t Cheat Your Employer.

The second point is that Gary always prioritizes his job work first when he is on the employer’s clock. He doesn’t let his blog business override his corporate job responsibilities during the time his employer expects to be getting Gary’s full attention.

He continues…

“Stealing moments: when people leave for lunch most days, I stay, eat at my desk and work. I also figure every smoker takes a least one smoke break per hour on an average of seven minutes.  I multiply those minutes by eight (hours) and buy myself nearly another hour of blog biz time over the course of the day.  Unorthodox I know, but it works and I could justify it if needed.”

3. Identify Those Minutes of Unproductive Time Throughout Your Day and Make Them Productive

This is a great example of hard-core time management. Finding those sporadic few minutes here and there provides a surprising amount of extra time.

Like making the most out of your coworkers smoking habits. That takes discipline, but as Gary’s numbers show, this can really add up to providing additional time.

4. Make the Most Out of Today’s Technology

“Having a smart phone has been a huge boon to my productivity over the years and I could not live without it. I answer client requests all day long when I’m not in meetings.” 

His next advice reveals how he balances his family life with his work…

“At night I simply carve out three set-evenings per week to attend to maintenance and always tell my wife when I plan to be finished. All other nights are family time, period.

On the nights I do work, I must stop at a designated time and leave the work on the table unless I’m in project mode.  When there is a new project, I take more time away from my family to meet the demand and that is understood between my wife and I.  This was much harder to do when the kids were little but now they don’t require the late night attention, so this is when most work gets done.

More than anything, over-communicating with my wife has been the silver bullet, even when it seemed unnecessary or silly.”

Some great advice here for those who are married, have kids, or both.

5. Communicate with Your Spouse More Than Seems Necessary

I really identified with this part because I’ve had to learn the important principle of “over-communicating” with my wife.

Running Build Your Own Blog has really taught me to make sure my wife knows as much detail about my plans and schedules as possible. When I don’t communicate in detail with her, this causes a lot of misunderstandings which leads to unnecessary stress and strife in my family life and my business life.

But when I do communicate effectively with my wife, everything runs like a well-oiled machine.

Gary went on to the importance of self-maintenance…

“I do burn out at periods of time over the year but always make time to unplug during the last half of December to focus on the holidays and family events. That’s always the light at the end of the tunnel for me.  I also have to have “Me time” sprinkled in there as well to keep my sanity.

Nothing but goof off time just to decompress and breathe.”

6. Make Time For Yourself. Do Things You Enjoy. Have Some Fun.

Working all the time leads to burn out. Even when you love what you do.

Saying yes to every customer that wants your services… never taking any time to release physical stress…thinking that you don’t need to stop working… turning to coffee (or stronger substances) to get you through a project instead of turning to prayer, a nature hike, or a funny movie break…all of these mindsets will catch up to even the most talented of workers, regardless of the type of work they do or how much they love it.

They will inevitably hit a wall.

If you are an introverted writer, you still need to shut off your computer now and then and have a conversation with someone you care about. Extroverts do  this naturally, but an introvert can easily neglect his personal relationships.

Blogger. Real Estate Agent. Web Developer. Whatever you do–you are human.

Don’t neglect that.

Now Here’s Gary’s Final Surprising Confession

“It’s all about trial and error. It hasn’t always been easy or pretty. Feathers do get ruffled from time to time, but it’s rare at best anymore. 

I do think there is one major downfall in all of this though: I think all this has kept me from promotion within my employer over the last six years. But on the other side of this, I can’t make the necessary time to grow my outside business enough to strike out on my own. My employer pays too much and I couldn’t afford to make less or take a chance with all of these mouths to feed.

In some ways, I kinda see me as being stuck again–for better, or worse.  Hope this makes sense and provides some insight.”

This last revelation really touched me. There’s more to Gary than meets the eye.

Isn’t that the case with each of us?

No question Gary has fantastic time management skills. Impressive resume. He has been able to accomplish a lot of great things in his life. He’s a talented corporate manager. Internet business owner. Husband and dad.

But he’s had to let go of a few things along the way. He’s had to put his family’s needs before his own.

“Having it all” is a myth. Spending time on one thing automatically takes time away from another thing. Ultimately, we all have to make choices on what’s really important to us.

This turned out to be Gary’s most compelling piece of advice.

7. As Good Time Management Brings Success, Realize You Still Can’t Have It All. Be Prepared to Make a Few Sacrifices

Most people don’t like to hear this last secret.

So, what about you? Have you found a secret formula that enables you to “have it all?” What are some things you do to make the most of your time? Is there any point in Gary’s story that you disagree with?

Leave your thoughts in a comment.

11 comments

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  1. Sharon says:    •   5 years

    I know this is going to sound really cleche but prioritise, prioritise, prioritise is the key for me. As a stay-at-home mum, Reiki Practitioner, blogger and wife, sometimes that means 1) change nappy [it’s as much about maintaining a pleasant environment for everyone as it is about tending to your child’s basic needs] 2) hug the child who looks like they are teetering on the edge of a meltdown [because you’ve been busy responding to emails] 3) write on a post-it note my next literary gem [before it vanishes forever] 4) kiss the husband as he walks in the door [it’s a short-term pleasure and a long-term marriage-saving strategy] and 5) catch up on admin and all the quasi-important things at 11.30pm at night…then sleep deeply [quality is better than quantity].
    I find it’s a constant case of quickly identify what’s urgent and important and go from there…cue the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. I will also add throwing in a large dose of acceptance and an even bigger dose of flexibility and you’ve got yourself a tried and true method of managing time. Now if I can just find that holiday brochure…

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Sharon, I love this comment. As a husband and dad, I can relate to your advice.

      #3 is important. We must jot down those ideas quickly or they can float away for sure. And flexibility is crucial to succeeding at the blogging lifestyle.

      I hope you do follow through on that holiday you are looking at taking. That will recharge your batteries. Sounds like you deserve a little down time.

      Keep in touch.

  2. Hanna says:    •   5 years

    I agree that one needs to prioritize daily. I am retired so I have more time to spend on my business, and with family. My only concern with what Gary said was that most employers do not allow you to do your own work on their time. I was in upper management for many years, and this arrangement was never approved.

    Hanna

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Hanna,

      You’re right. Gary’s ability to spend some time on his blog business while at work may not work for everyone. He’s doing the right thing by communicating and prioritizing and it works for him.
      If someone cannot do what Gary does, they will need to figure out how to make time for their blogging business outside of their job.

  3. Kemi says:    •   5 years

    I really admire your friend and his ability to juggle so much and still be able to make time for himself. I am a mother of 2 and it’s hard going back to work after being a stay at home mum for so many years. I have a baby who takes a lot of my time (lovingly) and a genius 5 years old who actually knows a lot more than I do in many subjects. Anyway, point is, between being a self parenting, just returned to work, writing secret books and trying to get back to college mum, I am teaching my children to be go-getters even from such tender ages. I ma teaching them to trust God in all and deal with everything and everyone in love while keeping their eyes very open as we still live in this very delicate world.
    I am trying to start out the blog world, know nothing about it but willing to learn, learn, learn.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Kemi,

      I admire your pursuit of excellence. My email tips and blog are here for you to “learn, learn, learn.” Let me know how things progress.

    2. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Kemi,
      I admire YOU. You sound like a great example for many who want to blog. Hang around here and let me know if you need anything. I want to see you succeed.

  4. Brent Jones says:    •   5 years

    “Be Transparent With Your Employer About Your Blogging Business”
    ^ I’ve made the mistake of dodging this one before, and it has caused more grief than anything.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Sounds like you would have done things differently, Brent? At least now you are your own boss (I think. Right?)

  5. Michael says:    •   5 years

    Thanks for another great article! I’ve been utilizing my downtime lately by reading everything I can find (mostly here at buildyourownblog.net) on how to blog and become a great blogger. My blog is still in it’s newborn stage, and I really appreciate your great website ! Thanks

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Michael, happy to hear this benefited you. Thanks for the feedback and drop by again. Let me know how the blog develops.